HomeReviewsInterviewsStoreABlogsOn Writing

The Death Penalty, Yay Or Nay?

Thursday, February 21, 2008
Posted in: Uncategorized

I’m a death penalty advocate. I am.

I’ve heard all the arguments against, but I just can’t help but think that some people should just be done away with.

Today, a man who was accused of killing five prostitutes, in December 2006, was found guilty on all counts:

A forklift truck driver has been convicted over the murder of five women in Ipswich.

Steve Wright was accused of strangling five prostitutes and then disposing of their bodies in the town’s outskirts.

The naked bodies of Tania Nicol, Gemma Adams, Anneli Alderton, Annette Nicholls and Paula Clennell were discovered over just 10 days.
On December 2, fisheries worker Trevor Saunders stumbled upon the body of 25-year-old Gemma Adams in a brook in Hintlesham.

“There was nothing odd about the body other than it was stripped. I noticed the hair, the earring and blood coming out of her nose.”

But Wright’s first victim was 19-year-old Tania Nichol, discovered in the same brook as Gemma, but in Copdock on December 8.

Over the next four days, police discovered three more bodies – Anneli Alderton and mothers Annette Nicholls and Paula Clennell.

Three months pregnant, Anneli had been strangled, her body placed in the shape of a crucifix. Annette too was found with arms outstretched in the shape of a cross.

Wright denied the murders, but couldn’t explain why the DNA of all five of the prostitutes were found on his person:

Wright’s DNA, which had been placed on a database after an earlier conviction for theft, matched that found on three women. Blood from his final two victims was found on Wright’s reflective jacket. Fibres from his clothes, car and furniture were found on all five victims.

Wright told the court it was a coincidence that he sought the services of all the women in the order they disappeared, around the very night each vanished. That, argued Wright’s defence team, didn’t make him a killer.

The jury of nine men and three women disagreed.

With the overwhelming evidence, I’d say string the bastard up. What good is he alive?

It makes me so mad to think that he killed those women, but yet, he’ll get to live the rest of  his life in relative luxury. (The longer they serve here, the easier things are in prison).

I know that miscarriages of justice do happen, but there are some instances where there can be no doubt of guilt.

The other day I heard that a man had been convicted of raping and murdering his 7 week old baby. I can’t imagine what good such a man is alive. Anybody who can do that to a child, is truly beyond redemption, and deserves to die a really horrible painful death.

And no, I don’t believe that a life for a life makes us as bad as the perpetrators. I simply don’t.


  • azteclady
    February 21
    8:28 pm

    Incontrovertible evidence? Hell, yes.

    Convincing evidence plus confession? Hell, yes.

    Circumstantial evidence only? Not so much–because there have been cases in which the true perpetrator has surfaced after an innocent person spent years in prison. They can get out of prison but not back to life.


  • I’m a firm believer in the death penalty. Aztec’s parameters work for me. Child sex criminals should specifically be considered.



  • I’m with you, Karen.

    I’ve done extensive research on the subject, from a legal perspective, and I say hell yes. Strap ’em in.

    In a little over a year, I’ll be out of law school, and working as a criminal prosecutor, if all goes according to plan. I’d have to be certain but when I am? Bring it.


  • Nope, I don’t believe in the death penalty. I’ve read too many accounts of individuals wrongfully imprisoned. There was a poignant story in the ABA Journal about 8 years ago about a man who had been in prison for the rape of a woman.

    The woman had positively identified this man, both in a line up and at trial. On her eye witness testimony, he was sent to prison. He had been in for several years and saw the OJ Simpson trial and the issue of DNA evidence. He demanded a DNA test. The rape kit had been preserved and DNA was tested. The result was something like he was 98% likely NOT to be the rapist. Another inmate in a neighboring prison bragged about doing the crime. His DNA was tested and found to be a match.

    There are multiple stories of injustice that happens every day in our criminal justice system because of incompetence, overworked prosecutors, rushed investigations and so forth. The idea of putting even one innocent person to death for a crime he or she did not commit is an anathema to me and truly, I think to the idea of the very basis of the US criminal justice system which is that it is better for 100 guilty men to go free than to rob the liberty of one innocent man. It is embedded in our fundamental rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    Because we, the prosecutors, the jury, the judge and the defense counsel, are only human and therefore NOT error proof, the death penalty cannot be morally or legally justified. (in my opinion of course).


  • Karen B
    February 21
    10:42 pm

    Personlly I’m not only for the death penalty but feel that our whole prison system needs to be revamped here in the states. I feel like prisons should be self sufficient, as much as possible. Land around facilities should be used to raise crops and animals with the work being done by the prisoners. I’m not talking about abusive 16 hour days or anything, but work. Crafts taught and items sold to make money to pay for prison utilities or whatever.

    Prisoners have too many “rights” as far as I’m concerned. You’re convicted of a federal crime … guess what you lose your “rights” until you’ve done your time! It’s a shame when the prisoners have it better than many of our poor here in the states. With all of their access to computers, work training and school!

    I could go on and on, but I won’t take any more time.


  • I would be for the death penalty if there weren’t so many flaws in the system as Jane has pointed out and especially as it’s not equally applied to all criminals. Plus if the system was run the way it’s supposed to and everyone on death row is guilty, then it should also extend to child molesters. Definitely there are people who should fry, but until there is reform in our justice system, I’m against it.


  • The major benefit of the Death penaly is that it ends recidivism.

    And I’m strongly in favor of extending it to child molestors and garden-variety rapists.

    But it is unevenly applied.

    We could do life imprisonment as they did in Italy: a coffin-size niche, and you’re walled up in it, with a slot for food and one for waste.


  • Indida
    February 22
    3:07 am

    Anyone who preys on children should die. It’s been proven time and again that they never change and they never stop. Just get rid of them.

    I don’t understand why they even let them out of jail in the first place. They always do it again.


  • loonigrrl
    February 22
    3:31 am

    I’m against the death penalty. I’m pretty familiar with the arguments for and against, but at the end of the day, I’m against it. The justice system isn’t perfect. I’ve had enough experience working for the city atty’s and district atty’s to know that. How could it? It’s being run by regular people, both good and bad at their jobs, both passionate and dispassionate and both hardworking and lazy. Part of me thinks that one life taken in error is one life too many.

    Another part of me, however, completely understands the need for retribution- for those who are truly guilty. My take on retribution may be a little different than most people. Part of it may be that I’m an atheist and believe there’s no hell waiting for these murderers on the other side. Part of me thinks that we shouldn’t give them a quick release from the hell they receive be receiving in prison. I will admit, however, there are some cases that are so unjust and heartbreaking that even I’m tempted to support the death penalty. I’m kind of curious how other atheists think on this issue. Any out there?


  • Anonymous
    February 22
    3:51 am

    Yes. All for it. I say fry them. Adopt the eye-for-an-eye approach. Rape? Cut their dick off. Steal? Cut their hand off. Murder? Well… you get the gist. But I’m a vindictive bitch that way. I think the prison system here in the US of A sucks big time. It costs us more to keep them alive than I make in a year… and why are we housing, feeding, clothing, etc., said persons? Because they’re criminals. Kinda seems a tad wrong. The guy who raped the baby? Someone will get him, don’t you worry. People like that don’t make it long in prison.


  • Jackie L.
    February 22
    3:56 am

    Yep, here’s another atheist. I definitely do not believe in hell, except hell here on earth. I would like to be able to support the death penalty. However, I have seen so much sloppy cop work, shortcuts taken, people’s rights violated that I can’t believe in the death penalty either.

    Big scandal here in Colorado. A 15 year old was a suspect in a rape/homicide because of a bunch of emo drawings and writings. Good crap, if I got convicted based on the tripe I wrote at that age! I recall (with a shudder) writing really lousy poetry when I was 14.

    They convicted the kid years later and he spent 15 years in jail. He just got released because the victim had all kinds of guys’ skin DNA on her clothing, just not the guy they convicted.

    The DAs are now judges and they’re being scrutinized. But the cops are getting the brunt of the bad publicity.

    At least this guy is still alive to be released. If they had given him the death penalty for crappy writing. . .

    So no death penalty for me. Too much imperfection in the world.


  • I’m not against the death penalty, but I’d want to see it judiciously used. There are some cases where the evidence is irrefutable and the crime is so horrendous, I don’t believe ‘rehabilitation’ is possible.

    Child rapists, serial killers should go to the front of the line, IMO.


  • “People like that don’t make it long in prison.”
    I have the feeling that’s a comfortble urban myth.


  • KCfla
    February 22
    1:50 pm

    I took a Criminal Justice class in college. One of the “field trips” we took was a trip to Raeford prison here in Fl. We actually got to “interview” some guys that were on Death row.
    One of the things that was discussed was the prison “hierarchy”. And the prisoners all agreed that anyone that was convicted of child molestation/abuse were the *low men/women* on the list. And they also said not to worry- they “got theirs” while in prison.
    Comfortable myth- no, not really.


  • sallahdog
    February 22
    4:36 pm

    While I don’t have a problem with it in theory, in practice innocent men and women are sentanced to death (and you can’t unring that bell) and it actually costs MORE to kill a prisoner than to keep him in jail for the rest of his life… Here in the US prisons are places I would personally rather die than be in, soooo… I am good with life with no parole…


  • Robin
    February 22
    5:06 pm

    What Jane said, with the addition of research indicating that those who have to participate in putting convicts to death often suffer some really severe and long-lasting psychological effects, despite all the measures in place to depersonalize the process.


  • katieM
    February 22
    6:41 pm

    I believe in the death penalty for child molesters. However, there must be incontrovertible proof that the person did commit the crime.


  • CindyS
    February 23
    7:09 am

    We don’t have the death penalty in Canada which is just as well because I tend to see both sides.

    There was a case here where a man and his wife raped and killed two young girls, Kristin French and Leslie Mahaffy. I know the killers names but I refuse to use them because I would rather remember the girls and their lives than the monsters who killed them.

    In this case there was video tape evidence of all the wrongs (and I don’t know what was done to each girl because I couldn’t bear to know) done to each girl over 3 to 4 periods days. What wasn’t on the video tape was the killing. The woman claimed it was him and he claimed it was her. What was clear from the tapes is the ‘he’ wasn’t the only monster in the room.

    The woman got ten years (she pleaded before the tapes were found) and she is now out and the last I heard was expecting a child. I fear for that child as the woman helped her husband (her then boyfriend) kill her own younger sister.

    He got life in prison no parole.

    In this very case, I would say he should get the death penalty. The proof was irrefutable.

    So for me, it has to be iron-clad evidence and if it’s not, then I couldn’t vote for it to be.

    I should also say that I would want the death penalty for those who do kids harm but I would allow the family of the child to be the one who decides.

    I think the death penalty has many problems and I have to be honest and say if I was asked to perform a legal/sanctioned by the family of the victim execution, I’m not sure I could do it. But I think that has to do with my religious beliefs. If I can’t do it then I can’t ask someone else in good conscience to do it either.

    So do I think there are murderers, child-molesters who should be put to death? Yes. But I couldn’t ask someone to do it for me.



  • azteclady
    March 8
    9:24 pm

    Perhaps I’m already in the slippery slope, but there are cases where I certainly consider the death penalty the very minimum a criminal should suffer. Take this case:

    Ten-year-old Jamie Rose Bolin of Purcell, OK was lured by her neighbor, 26-year-old Kevin Underwood, to his apartment which was one floor up from where she lived with her loving father. Underwood raped, tortured and murdered Jamie Rose and planned to cook and eat parts of her body. Underwood has been charged with first-degree murder and faces the death penalty. His blogs give some insight into his twisted psyche.

    Close to two years later, he’s finally been tried and convicted, with the jury recommending the death penalty. Appparently, Underwood’s attorneys feels that since he “suffered from a host of mental illnesses and was overcome by deviant sexual urges” he shouldn’t die. So what? Should society trust that he’ll be a good boy and take his medications for the rest of his life, and hope that that, indeed, curbs his “deviant sexual urges’? All the while, paying to keep him alive somewhere? Where would the justice for Jamie Rose Bolin be in that?


  • azteclady
    March 9
    12:21 am

    Oh crud, yet another one! Fourteen years in prison for manslaughter, he gets out in January, and by the first week of March he’s killed four adults and two children, and injured three other children.

    Does this make any sense?

    (This is why I rarely read the news. I rather be uninformed that perennially depressed, dammit.)


  • Karen Scott
    March 9
    2:25 pm

    AL, those two stories are just one of the reasons that I think the death penalty is a must. In the case of the second link, the justice system let down those people who were killed days after his release.


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment